2016 MBAs To Watch: Tim Folts, Pittsburgh (Katz)

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Timothy James Folts

University of Pittsburgh, Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business

Age: 29

Hometown: Murrysville, PA

Undergraduate School and Degree: United States Naval Academy, Applied Mathematics with Honors

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? United States Navy, Naval Aviator

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? GlaxoSmithKline, Moon Township, PA

Where will you be working after graduation? GlaxoSmithKline, Finance Esprit Associate

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Vice President of Finance, Graduate and Professional Student Government. In this role, I oversee a $275,000 budget, serving 14 graduate schools and 10,000 students.
  • BNY-Mellon Corporate Social Responsibility Fellowship. In this role, I partner with Sustainable Pittsburgh to develop the social aspects of the Southwest PA Sustainability Compact v2.0.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of being the father of my first child, a beautiful baby girl.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of successfully identifying and handling two emergencies that required the shutdown of an engine in flight while serving as a pilot in the U.S. Navy, both of which resulted in the safe return of a 12-person aircrew and $36 million aircraft.

Who is your favorite professor? My favorite professor is Dr. Richard Patton, who teaches classes in strategy and entrepreneurship. He brings a personal touch to his instruction, having invested in or supported many of the companies we discuss as case studies in his classes.

Favorite MBA Courses? My favorite MBA course is our capstone course, the Management Simulation. In it, students are formed into executive teams and run a simulated business that competes with other student executive teams. Each team reports to a board of directors composed of high-level executives from out in town and is tasked with meeting investor expectations and those of their board. It is very challenging and competitive, and requires all the skills you have acquired in business school and in industry to do well. It is also the single most important developmental experience I have had in business school.

Why did you choose this business school? The Katz Graduate School of Business offers unique dual-degree programs by partnering with the other 13 graduate schools at the University of Pittsburgh. The ability to pursue both an MBA and an MS in bioengineering and complete both in the same time it takes to complete an MBA alone factored greatly into my decision to choose Katz.

What did you enjoy most about business school? Meeting fellow highly driven individuals from all walks of life has been the most enjoyable experience in business school.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? The biggest lesson from business school has been that, given the option between talent and effort, effort is the better selection. Effort alone will take you further than talent alone. However, it is best to have both!

What was the most surprising thing about business school? The most surprising thing about business school has been the number of fellow veterans enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business. There is a strong and vibrant veteran community at Pitt and at Katz in particular.

What was the hardest part of business school? Balancing everything is the hardest part of business school. Currently, I work part-time, carry nearly a maximum credit load, serve in the student government, care for my infant daughter when my wife works, and do some student consulting. I’ve found that at times I’m busier than I was in the Navy!

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? The best advice to someone considering Pitt would be to visit the city. Pittsburgh has moved away from steel and into a high-tech and biotech economy, and offers a huge amount of sporting and cultural activities in a safe and affordable city.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when… I left service as a Navy pilot and realized I didn’t want to work for an airline.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be… further from achieving my goals.”

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? I most admire Alan Mulally, who led Boeing for a time and presided over Ford during its turnaround. Notably, due to his leadership, Ford was the only one of the Big Three domestic automakers to not require a government bailout.

What are your long-term professional goals? Ultimately, I want to serve as a VP or SVP of finance at GlaxoSmithKline.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I most want to thank my wife for my success. Without her support, I would not have achieved all that I have in business school.

Fun fact about yourself: I am rated to fly seaplanes, something I pursued to honor my great-grandfather, who flew flying boats for PanAm before and during World War II.

Favorite book: The Count of Monte Cristo

Favorite movie: The Blues Brothers

Favorite musical performer: The Eagles

Favorite television show: “The Muppet Show” (original)

Favorite vacation spot: Rocky Mountain National Park

Hobbies? Non-academic reading, when I can find the time

What made Tim such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“Tim Folts came to Katz and embraced the school’s collaborate environment between students, faculty, and staff from day one. Tim is a fully engaged student and takes on leadership roles outside the classroom, despite having a very challenging course load, working part-time, and juggling the demands of having a newborn daughter.

“Tim is a thoughtful communicator who fully assesses all situations and viewpoints in the most diplomatic manner. This has served him well in his capacity as vice president of finance for the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate and Professional Student Government, where he was responsible for a fair disbursement of funds across 14 graduate schools. Tim’s involvement at the university level has enabled the Katz community to become more engaged with Pitt as a whole.

“Tim has performed research for three pioneering life science and medical device technologies through the Coulter Foundation Translational Research Partners Program. In addition, he participated in the university’s Randall Family Big Idea Competition, obtaining partial funding for two innovations related to his group’s start-up. Building on a graduate certificate in ethics that he received from another school, Tim has fueled his passion for corporate social responsibility through the Katz BNY Mellon Fellowship program.

“Tim is a self-aware individual who recognizes when to engage others and consult with experts to ensure his and his peers’ success. Tim spent significant time with members of our Executives in Residence team, which helped him to network and prepare for his transition to a civilian role that will combine his interests in the Bio/Pharma sector and finance with GlaxoSmithKline. Tim’s successful performance during his internship allowed him to continue working throughout the school year, and he will join GSK’s elite ESPRIT international rotational program upon graduation.

“Tim’s thoughtful and engaging approach made him an excellent leader and team member in the Katz MBA Class of 2016. He has proudly served our country, and will serve as an outstanding representative of the Katz Graduate School of Business and the University of Pittsburgh.”

Melissa Shapiro, Director
Career Management Center
Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh

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